Joining Tennessee American Water in March was a homecoming of sorts for David Braam.
Braam, the new senior manager of government affairs and economic development for Tennessee American, was raised in nearby Cleveland.
"I'm a local boy," says Braam, a Cleveland High School graduate. "I'm thrilled to be working back in an area of the state I grew up in. It has been great to watch Chattanooga."
While Braam will work out of Nashville so he's close to state government leaders and regulators, he's no stranger to that city, either.
After graduating from the University of Georgia where he majored in political science, he landed a job working in the office of legal services for the Tennessee General Assembly in Nashville.
He worked there a couple of years before attending law school in Memphis, earning his degree and joining the Tennessee Bankers Association as its deputy general counsel, he says. Later, he worked for a contract lobbying firm in Nashville and then took a job for former Gov. Phil Bredesen's administration.
"I worked in the administration from the day he took office until he left office," Braam says.
He last worked on Bredesen's staff as a legislative liaison, he says. He later joined a health insurance company and practiced law before coming aboard Tennessee American, a subsidiary of American Water, which is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state. Tennessee American serves about 380,000 people in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia.
* Job: senior manager of government affairs and economic development for Tennessee American Water
* Background: Raised in Cleveland, Tennessee
* Age: 52
* Education: University of Georgia; University of Memphis
* Personal: Married, two children
Braam says that, like working for Bredesen, joining Tennessee American is meaningful.
"Nothing is more central in a person's life than water," he says. "It touches everyone's lives."
In addition to promoting infrastructure, the work also involves supporting economic development and job growth in the area, Braam says.
"Any community trying to grow, water is such an essential piece in that," he says.
Braam, who is married with two teenagers, says that when he's not working, he likes to play golf, hike and travel. He also likes Jon Meacham books, college football and hockey.
"There's something about a hockey match that's exciting," Braam says.
He notes that he arrived at Tennessee American during the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
"It has been a challenge working from home," Braam says. "I'm impressed how we as a team are functioning well in this crisis."